1st Nov 2016
No doubt you’ve noticed some of the uniformed police and their vehicles here in Portugal. But did you know we actually have SIX crime police forces? Each has its own powers and responsibilities, and you should know about our “Órgãos de Polícia Criminal em Portugal”.
The Guarda Nacional Republicana is a paramilitary security force created in 1911; in wartime, they serve among active troops. In peacetime, they maintain public order throughout the country, except in large cities, where the PSP has jurisdiction.
The Polícia Segurança Pública goes back to 1867. They regulate traffic, guard airports and ports and provide normal law and order services to urban citizens. They also monitor private security firms, deal with firearms licensing, and ou’ll see them keeping order among crowds at major events. Their innovative programme “Estou aqui” – I’m here – traces and reunites missing children with their guardians.
Created around the end of WWII, when much of Europe was in social turmoil, the Polícia Judiciária look after policing serious crimes like drug smuggling, terrorism, money laundering, cybercrime and homicides. They are integrated with our justice system, working with a network of specialists, e.g. forensics investigators, and liaising with INTERPOL and EUROPOL. You may not notice them, because they have plain clothes and unmarked vehicles.
Chances are, you’ve heard of the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras. They are the security border force who monitor foreign nationals entering Portugal. But they also issue Portuguese passports and other documents, police movement of immigrants, fight human trafficking, handle asylum applications and guard individual rights and freedoms of incomers.
The lesser-know ASAE is our official police body fighting crime. These guys maintain over 1000 laws dealing with economic activities. Some are food or drink-related: selling rules, health and safety, consumer rights, etc. But they also look after non-food products and services, too. And – interestingly, they police illegal gambling.
Read more about Portugal’s national and community police forces here: http://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/police-in-portugal/